Antibiotic adjuvants - A strategy to unlock bacterial resistance to antibiotics

Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2017 Sep 15;27(18):4221-4228. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2017.08.027. Epub 2017 Aug 14.


Resistance to available antibiotics in pathogenic bacteria is currently a global challenge since the number of strains that are resistant to multiple types of antibiotics has increased dramatically each year and has spread worldwide. To unlock this problem, the use of an 'antibiotic adjuvant' in combination with an antibiotic is now being exploited. This approach enables us to prolong the lifespan of these life-saving drugs. This digests review provides an overview of the main types of antibiotic adjuvants, the basis of their operation and the remaining issues to be tackled in this field. Particular emphasis is placed on those compounds that are already in clinical development, namely β-lactamase inhibitors.

Keywords: Antibiotic potentiators; ESKAPE pathogens; Efflux pump inhibitors; Permeabilizers; Resistance breakers; β-Lactamase inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Structure
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents